Home > Awareness, Family Services > Speaking with Jason Katims of “Parenthood”

Speaking with Jason Katims of “Parenthood”

  1. ileana morales
    May 1, 2010 at 12:54 am

    HI!. MY NAME IS ILEANA MORALES, I HAVE A 17 YEAR OLD AUTISTIC TEEN, HIS NAME IS DAVID.HE WAS DIAGNOSED AT THE AGE OF 7-.UNTIL HE WAS 10 YEARS OLD, ALL HE SAID WAS MAMA, PAPA AND “TOY”. SOMETHING HAPPENED WHEN HE TURNED 11, HE BECAME HIGH FUNCTIONING, HE WOULDN’T STOP TALKING ( AND WE WERE SO HAPPY ABOUT THAT), HE WAS NO LONGER SHY,HE STARTED DOING GREAT AT SCHOOL, I WAS SO HAPPY.-BUT WHEN HE TURNED 16 ( AND THE HORMONES KICKED IN) EVERYTHING CHANGED. HE WANTED FRIENDS, A GIRLFRIEND, HE TRIED TO MAKE FRIENDS AT SCHOOL. THAT’S WHEN HE REALIZED HE WAS DIFFERENT . DAVID TURNED FROM A SWEET BOY TO AN AGGRESSIVE TEENAGER, HE EVEN STARTED HURTING HIMSELF,ANYTHING HE COULD FIND, IF HE WAS EATING HE’LL TAKE THE FORK AND STARTED POKING HIMSELF, OR HE WOULD TAKE A KNIFE OR A SCISSOR.HE WOULD BITE HIMSELF HARD.( he never did this before) .HE KICKED AND PUNCH DOORS.HE CRYED AND SAY:”MOM I HAVE NO FRIENDS, I’LL NEVER HAVE A GRILFRIEND”.HE WAS FRUSTRATED AND SO WAS I. I WAS DESPERATE. I ENROLLED HIM IN THE BEST BUDDIES PROGRAM.BUT AFTER EVERY OUTING, HE WOULD COME HOME MORE DEPRESSED, HE WOULD SAY: “REGULAR KIDS DON’T WANT TO TALK TO ME”. I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT TO DO.- ONE DAY, TALKING TO ROSA (THE MOTHER OF ONE OF DAVIDS CLASSMATES) WE DECIDED TO OPEN A CLUB. ROSA CELEBRATED HER DAUGHTER MELISSA, SWEET SIXTEEN PARTY, THEY WERE SO HAPPY, THEY WERE TALKING ABOUT WHAT THEY WERE GOING TO WEAR, EVEN THE TEACHERS AT SCHOOL WERE TEACHING THEM HOW TO DANCE, THEY HAD A BLAST. THE FOLLOWING FRIDAY I TOOK MY VAN, AND ROSA AND I TOOK 7 HIGH FUNCTIONING TEENS TO “HANG OUT”, WE WENT TO THE MOVIES ( THIS WAS THE FIRST TIME THEY WENT TO THE MOVIES WITH FRIENDS), THEY WOULDN’T STOP TALKING AND LAUGHING; THEY WERE BEING TEENAGERS. AND ROSA AND I WERE CRYING OF HAPPINESS.NOW WE GO OUT EVERY FRIDAY. DAVID AND HIS FRIENDS ARE NOT AGGRESSIVE ANYMORE; THEY ARE TOO BUSY PLANNING THE NEXT FRIDAY OUTING.

    THERE IS A LOT OF HELP FOR LITTLE KIDS BUT THEY ARE FORGETTING THAT OUR KIDS ARE BECOMING TEENAGERS WITH ALL OF THEIR TEENS NEEDS..- OUR TEENS NEED HELP, THEY LACK SOCIAL SKILLS, THEY HAVE NO FRIENDS THEY FEEL LONELY. AS THE MOTHER OF AN AUTISTIC TEEN, I CAN TELL YOU THAT THEY SUFFER AND SO DO WE.

    I WANT TO SHARE THIS WITH EVERY MOTHER. OUR LITTLE CLUB IS WORKING, WE WOULD LIKE TO MAKE IT GROW. WE WOULD LIKE TO SEE 100′S OF TEENS HAVING FUN….JUST BEING TEENAGERS.

    I REALLY PRAISE YOUR ORGANIZATION AND ALL THE HELP THAT YOU PROVIDE AND I REALLY THANK YOU FOR THIS OPPORTUNITY.

  2. Donna Marino
    May 14, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    THANK YOU, Jason Katims, for bringing the face of autism into the homes of so many American households. I was just telling friends and family members of how wonderful Parenthood is and how I would love to thank you personally! I have 2 children in my family on the autism spectrum (grandchild and niece) and know firsthand the many challenges, heartbreaks, and joys.

    Thank you, again.

    Sincerely,
    Donna Marino

    • May 11, 2011 at 9:34 am

      Thank you! My 19 year old is really going through this…. He blames on German culture, as he seems to be more accepted when we visit the states. I applaud your taking the initiative to start a group. It hasn’t gotten that far here in Europe. It tough to be different in anyway here. Congrats to you and keep up the good work!

  3. Sharon Genuardi
    May 15, 2010 at 11:15 pm

    Dear Jason, As the mother of a 27-year old young man with high-functioning autism, I would like to thank you very much for bringing so much awareness about autism and Asperger’s Syndrome to the forefront in the wonderful show, Parenthood. No matter where your loved one is on the spectrum, we can all relate to the experiences of the Braverman family and, most especially, to the joys and challenges which the parents face daily. “Max” is adorable, and does a great job portraying Asperger’s Syndrome! The entire show is great, and I eagerly look forward to watching it every week–that is my “me” time:). Thanks again, Jason, and “kudos” to you for tackling this subject. Sincerely, Sharon Genuardi

  4. Emily H.
    May 17, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    First, I want to thank you for being brave enough to tackle this issue on a weekly TV show. The spectrum is so broad and each child presents so differently that it is a daunting task to even attempt to do it, much less “get it right.” And I think the producers, writers, consultants and actors are doing a fantastic job with the storyline and portrayals of Max and his immediate family’s struggles with autism.

    I just wanted to express one concern regarding the Rubber Band Ball episode that aired last month. The storyline seemed to suggest that Sydney could not possibly have autism because she tested in the gifted range on an IQ test. Of course you know that many children with autism can be very intelligent, and children with Asperger’s typically have above average and even “gifted” IQ’s. I felt this left a dangerous message with the general audience that kids with autism must test in the below normal intelligence range, even though Max is clearly portrayed as a smart boy. It was a confusing and contradictory message to come from the same show.

    Thanks again for your thoughtful treatment of such difficult subject matter and for bringing us such a wonderful show. I’m hoping my concern can somehow be addressed in a future episode. Maybe Max can take an IQ test and whip cousin Sydney’s score, lol.

    Sincerely,

    Emily

  5. Shirley
    May 21, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    Thank you so much for making the show Parenthood and including the character Max who has Asperger’s! I look forward to watching the show every week and I sincerely hope there will be many seasons!!! I will be 29 in June 2010. I have Asperger’s Syndrome and didn’t learn about its existence until I was 26 or 27!!! I am always happy to learn more about Aspergers and am trying to find people who have it or know someone with it. I’m still learning, but I love that show! Max is my favorite character for sure! hehe. and his parents are doing a great job. Keep up the good work. To all you Aspies out there, don’t lose courage! We can make it. One day at a time. God Bless!

  6. Ms Rosenkrantz
    June 22, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    I work with special needs adults and many are austic. I have worked with this population for over 25 years in NYC. I love them a great deal and they have taught me about love, emotions. and feelings. This not learned is school only people can teach you this stuff that why they are special to me.

    I am so amazed that Jason you have bought this population to the TV world in realist manner!!(they are people too) They are intergraded in our society and love to be in the community. They are our neighbors, family. peers and much more.

    Keep up the good work!!

    Hanz zappa Rosenkrantz

  7. July 13, 2010 at 11:33 am

    I have been following Parenthood with my two non-autistic sons. Even they recognize the similarities in our situations. It’s wonderful to see families dealing with this so openly… the more people know, the more tolerant they become…
    My oldest son was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome when he was six years old. He is now 18 and has come along way, but his road has been a bumpy one. We relocated to Germany 13 years ago, as his German father took a research position at the University here. The awareness of autism is not as it is in the US. All of his therapy has been more or less an improvisation. Through music, I am able to escape mentally and draw the strength needed to raise my son and his three siblings in a foreign country. I am a jazz vocalist. I wrote this song and recorded it in 2007 in NYC, with a wonderful group of musicians. It conveys my feelings of helplessness and hope, exasperation, and acceptance. Many of my listeners have suggested that I share this song with others who may be reached by its message. Here are my websites.

    http://www.stephaniek.de

    http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/stephaniekmusic

    • Dianne S.
      July 22, 2010 at 10:54 am

      Do you have any advice for navigation of the adolescent time (12-14)

      • autismspeaks
        July 22, 2010 at 11:01 am
      • stephanie K
        July 22, 2010 at 11:27 am

        I am sure it is different for each young adult, but for my son, it was a matter of letting him follow his passion for animals. He has bred gerbils, rabbits, poison arrow frogs and leave insects. We also got him involved in clubs which had to do with poison arrow frogs. Although most of the members were adults, this prompted him to ask questions on his own using email and telephone. It would have been better with similar aged peers, but at least he learned to initiate social contact outside of the family.

  8. stephanie K
    July 13, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    Stephanie :
    I have been following Parenthood with my two non-autistic sons. Even they recognize the similarities in our situations. It’s wonderful to see families dealing with this so openly… the more people know, the more tolerant they become…
    My oldest son was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome when he was six years old. He is now 18 and has come along way, but his road has been a bumpy one. We relocated to Germany 13 years ago, as his German father took a research position at the University here. The awareness of autism is not as it is in the US. All of his therapy has been more or less an improvisation. Through music, I am able to escape mentally and draw the strength needed to raise my son and his three siblings in a foreign country. I am a jazz vocalist. I wrote this song and recorded it in 2007 in NYC, with a wonderful group of musicians. It conveys my feelings of helplessness and hope, exasperation, and acceptance. Many of my listeners have suggested that I share this song with others who may be reached by its message. Here are my websites.
    http://www.stephaniek.de
    http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/stephaniekmusic

  9. stephanie K
    July 13, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    I was so emotional that I forgot to give the name of the song:
    It is “whispers with the wind” track # 14

  10. Denise
    October 4, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    Love Parenthood, the show, and the honor of parenthood itself! My little guy is 11, has features of Aspergers/PDD NOS. He is amazing! Quite unique and has the most charming way about him, in spite of it all. He connects with people in his own special way. He is highly driven and incredibly talented. It helps to coach him just prior to social situations. Eye contact is not typical, but heart-to-heart contact is there! Our life has challenges but it is loaded with heart warming fun that carries you through each day. We homeschool but have lots of extra-curricular activities with typically developing peers. I pray each day that we do the right things to prepare him well for life. So far, it feels right.

  11. Kathy
    January 7, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    Jason Katims has given me a wonderful tool in regards to Aspergers and sharing his show with my family. Aspergers is a very tricky and confusing illness/disease/disorder of the Autism spectrum. There are times when I am not sure what the answer should be when my 27 year old son asks me a question. He is so intelligent and wants straight forward answers or should I say his idea of what I should say or how I should say the answer. He can be in a great mood and then one little thing happens and he is furious or he will be furious and 5 minutes later he is in a great mood. It is hard to live with him however, we are his parents and are doing everything we can to help him live in this world. We have finally been able to get him on SSI and get him some medical care. Now I need to know where to find an Aspergers support group in my town. I’m sure I will be able to find one it is just that I have so much on my plate as I believe my 23 year old daughter has the same illness/disease/disorder of the Autism spectrum. Only coming up with another $3000.00 to get her to the specialist is going to be tough. If anyone knows of a support group in the Fresno Area, please let me know so that I can start going with my husband and our families. This has been great just to type out my feelings. Thank you.

  12. Dave
    March 1, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    I love the show and the writing is great. However, I wish the actor that plays Max was a better actor. Nothing against the kid but, he is obviously “trying to act” as though he has Asperger Syndrome. It is hard to get into the show when I find myself frustrated with Max. I was really hoping this show would have done a better job casting that part to better represent the plight of a child with autism.

    • May 11, 2011 at 5:00 am

      I agree on some level, but the boy who plays max is just a boy…and how do you teach someone how to have Asperger’s? It’s a tough one..

  13. Terry
    March 25, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    I just love Max. I have two teenaged kids who are on the spectrum. The scenes where they tell Max about Aspbergers were so well done. People don’t understand how anyone could avoid telling their child about their diagnosis, but I do. My kids were diagnosed as preschoolers, yet I did not explain their dx to them until they were 8 and 10. I don’t know about the kids, but I wasn’t ready. I enjoy all the characters on the show, but I, of course, follow Max and see my children through him. It will sound silly, but when Max asked “Is it just me (who has Aspbergers)?” I was happy my kids have each other to navigate the world together.

  14. risa bockler
    March 31, 2011 at 5:17 am

    I applaud the quality of your show and hope it is renewed for the following season.
    In the last episode,Julia was diagnosed with Asherman’s syndrome,more commonly known as uterine scarring.I am a member of the Asherman’s support group that has recently become a non-profit organization with the goals of both support and education.Our message boards were buzzing with excitement that this relatively unknown syndrome was being thrust into the limelight.All the women were hoping it would be handled in a medically responsible manner.They wanted her to join our group(she would be welcome with open arms),find an Alist specialist,get the proper surgery and medication and be on the road to recovery where she would most likely would be able to conceive and have a baby.
    If you would like more info,please google the Ashermans’s org or go to http://www.ashermansgroup@yahoo.com.
    Thank you so much!

    a

  15. April 23, 2011 at 12:06 am

    All it took was enormous talent, vision, and courage…thank you Jason Katims – for offering such a powerful deconstruction of the Autistic-Asperger’s stereotype in the Max Braverman character on Parenthood. As a clinical psychologist and parent of a seven-year-old son “on the spectrum”, I celebrate your remarkable achievement in both entertaining and educating us (simultaneously) about such important, complex medical/developmental/mental health issues. In short, Parenthood is therapeutic!

    Scott A. Rule, Psy.D.

  16. May 11, 2011 at 4:56 am

    I continue to follow Parenthood. I wrote this song when my son was a little bit younger than Max. He is now 19, beginning his training as a biodynamic farmer/forester. I put together these photos (most of which he took) to accompany this song about the frustration and joy of having a child with Asperger’s. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYDfe6jUaEw

  17. Kay
    October 14, 2011 at 11:46 pm

    I am contacting you to request that you help me get my son, David Lee Rea’s story out to the masses. A quick excerpt is as follows: My son, David Lee Rea, 15 years old was recently identified as high functioning Asperger’s. He was struggling with depression and transitions in life and high school. Although, my husband and I have always been aware of David’s differences, we never knew until August of this year that there was an official diagnosis for it…particularly since David was very high functioning Aspergers.
    > >
    > David has been struggling since February of this year when he first attemtpted suicide. On the heels of a 4 day hospital stay with a true medical miracle that took place and a 7 day inpatient stay at a crisis stabilization mental health facility , we continued to seek counseling and follow up care for David. David seemed to be doing fine up to the end of July 2011. Then he went through a downward spiral that we did not understand and we were constantly trying to discern what was going on and why. During a 9 day inpatient stay for suicidal thoughts, we (his parents alone)uncovered more and more about Aspergers during this crisis time with him. David was relieved with the insight of Asperger’s. He said, “Mama, I’m just glad to know that I am not going crazy.”
    >
    > After leaving the crisis center, we were in the process of having David psychologically tested, trying to get psychiatric help, and in the mean time, trying to get him transitioned into high school with friends and activities. We lost the battle with David on September 8, 2011, as he committed suicide in our home before going to school.
    >
    > David was a seemingly normal, popular, straight A, good-looking 15 year old football player. His parents, siblings, relatives,friends, teachers, administrators, coaches, counselors, psychiatrists, psychologists, and medical doctors were alongside him with a serious lack of knowledge as to what he was truly dealing with until it was too late.
    >
    > We are in the beginning stage of grieving for our precious son. In order to make any sense of this tragedy, we must channel our energy toward helping someone else to not follow this path that we travelled.
    >
    > Recently, my husband and I attended the Autism Conference in Arlington, Texas sponsored by Future Horizons. We met with Tony Atwood who is a renowned specialist in Aspergers Syndrome from Australia. He has highly encouraged us to carry David’s story to others since “this is not a unique path for Aspies”, he said. He also gave us permission to use him as a reference for our cause.
    >
    > Please contact me and let me know what you may do to help us tell David’s story. I would sincerely appreciate your help.
    >
    > Respectfully yours,
    > Kay Rea
    melissa TX
    > Phone: 972-839-1383
    >
    >
    >

  18. payal kamath
    December 23, 2011 at 6:19 am

    .. I’m myself in a process of being a special educator.. And I’m presenting a paper on autism intervention to educate teachers like me.. Which helps them understand these children better.. When I first saw the episode of parenthood.. It helped me to get a better insight of wht parents go through during this process of identification.. It was of a great help to me.. Thank you..

  19. Judi
    February 14, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    I have a six-year old grandson who was diagnosed with Asperger’s in late 2009. He was referred to a wonderful group of people (psychologists and OTs) who have helped tremendously. We still never know what might trigger an episode as he is mainstreamed in school and an after-school program at our local YMCA. The teachers/instructors are great, but NO ONE knows what it is like to worry about your child except you, the parent, twenty-four/seven. To see “Max” and recognize so many small signs of what we know is Asperger’s and to realize that, hopefully, this will help to educate so many people about autism spectrum disorders is something we can’t even describe! Thank you, Jason! Also, the looks on the faces of the actors who portray Max’s parents often ring so true. Just watched tonight’s episode where Max has found a friend with a different type of disability. At one point, where Max’s parents were talking with him about playing basketball and he told them he had no firends…I saw a look on Monica Potter’s face that mirrored what I have often seen on my own daughter’s face—a pain that only a parent can know when they want to fix something they can not fix!

    Thank you, again, for bringing this disorder to television and giving it the visibility that may someday help others.

  1. May 12, 2010 at 11:37 am
  2. April 24, 2011 at 6:21 am

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